Thursday, October 31, 2013


“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23

It's Halloween, the eve of All Saints' and there are pumpkins everywhere. I have always delighted in carving pumpkins and also worried at the waste of good, healthy fruit. Because pumpkins are relatively expensive in Sitka, we chose to leave the pumpkin whole and roast it after Halloween for eating, along with toasting the seeds. Using what we have been given is an awesome responsibility.

Jesus explained the parable of the sower. Folks must have looked completely baffled at the end of the story telling. Who am I, they wondered? They were given a choice really, as we are. We can be good soil, faithful and strong, and understand the call to respond to God's word. God's activity is to plant love and compassion deep in our souls, and it is our choice how to live with that. Will we share it and grow God's love and compassion? We are invited to be good dirt and good gardeners, tending to that which we have been given. We are called to be stewards, caretakers of God's love and mission in this world.

On this Halloween, I ask God to help me be a good steward of all of God's blessings. May our lives be rich soil and constant faith, so that the world might know the abundance and love of God. May we choose to be servants of God's word today in a world aching to hear a word of love today.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blessed Are You

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,

and you will indeed see but never perceive.”

For this people's heart has grown dull,

and with their ears they can barely hear,

and their eyes they have closed,

lest they should see with their eyes

and hear with their ears

and understand with their heart

and turn, and I would heal them.’

But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Matthew 13:10-17

Blessed Are You

Some days the work load is great
and life's busy trials tug hard
you are bent with care loved ones
blessed are you.

Some days the darkness falls too soon
and the trees on your path lean in
all of your hope seem to fade
and blessed are you.

The days of weeping on your bed
fear and waiting your only companions
God is not far off although it seems so
and blessed are you.

The days when the laundry is piled high
and the little needy voices are loudest
and there is no time to think or shower
blessed are you.

When the body is bent with age and pain
life has become too unchanging, too quiet
when there seems no more joy in these times
blessed are you.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sowing Seeds

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.” Matthew 13:1-9

The other morning, while driving to church, it was still very dark but the light was trying to breaking through. In a weeks' time we had lost more than a half hour of daylight. The autumn heralds the winter, our time of darkness and cold. It makes me wonder what seeds have been planted during the warmer seasons, and what will bring people indoors and maybe back to church. Did we plant love and welcome this year?

Jesus sat by the sea and told stories. He drew word pictures to help people understand their lives of faith. We all know that some seasons are better than others, some gardens more fruitful and some harvests more bountiful. The more we tend the soil and support the work of faith, feeding watering and weeding, the more growth we will see. And yet we are also subject to the seasons of the year, and the seasons of our lives. Jesus encourages us all to be faithful farmers, not just scattering enthusiastically in happy times but faithful in doing the tedious and tender work of loving care.

Today I ask God to help me be a faithful care taker. May we not worry so much about the numbers of the outward signs, and may we instead turn our hearts to bearing fruit through tender service. our world needs desperately to receive the tender loving care of faithful gardeners today.

Monday, October 28, 2013

More Spirits

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”

While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Matthew 12:43-50

It's that time of year. The last weeks of October and all the focus is on spirits, spooky things and delightfully gross and scary stuff. Halloween and All Saints' Day give us permission to talk about spirits and those who have gone before. We talk about the things that scare us and are inundated with horror movies on TV. Most of it is all in good fun. The hidden part of our humanity is the fear of evil, the anxiety of evil overcoming good, our lives destroyed by hate and fear.

Jesus has been instructing the people how to live the life of faith. He also warns them of how easy it can be for us to let evil slide back into our lives. Our selfishness and greed can compound easily and can cut off compassion and forgiveness. We are invited to be the family of God, brothers and sisters of Christ, by living lives filled with God's love.

I ask God to help me today live a life of love and compassion. May nothing we encounter today distract us from living lives worthy of the family of God. May we humbly offer ourselves in the service of others, honoring all those who have come before us by continuing their self-sacrifice and faithfulness today.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, `God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, `God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted." Luke 18:9-14

People want to know some hidden secret of living a faithful life. They come to me all the time seeking answers to the challenges of life. In my own life, the challenges I face are too often of my own making, and I get angry with God for my predicament. We often want some quick solution, some magic, for our problems. We already know what to do. To live a life of humility, compassion and generosity are the way to walk with God. And yet I struggle with that simple prescription for my life.

Jesus encounter those who want very specific rules for a faithful life. They want to know how to live so that they will be blessed. He tells them to be humble and they will know God's forgiveness. We too often want to be right rather than humble, to be better than others rather than one of the crowd. We are invited to be part of the crowd, living life of generosity and service right where we are. God promises to bless us, if we are but honest about our need and respond to the needs of others.

Today I ask God to help me have a humble heart. May we see every challenge as an opportunity to seek God's blessing. May our failures make room for God's love in our lives. And may we be inspired to be generous and forgiving since God has blessed us so much today.

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Something Greater

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. Matthew 12:33-42

Something Greater

The rain has been insistent, relentless
low clouds bringing down the ceiling
profound fog hide the deep green mountains
and we huddle aching for more.

There is always something greater
with tomorrow's gentle sunrise
Love is just around the corner
If we will open up our eyes.

The season of shutdown and furlough
infects us, disappoints us
we become the sad remnant of the hopeful
and are consumed by what we don't have.

There is always something greater
with tomorrow's gentle sunrise
Love is just around the corner
If we will open up our eyes.

The world turns inward away from the sun
we turn away afraid to be disappointed
critical of the lack of faithfulness
condemned by our own disbelief.

There is always something greater
with tomorrow's gentle sunrise
Love is just around the corner
If we will open up our eyes.

Selfishness and greed creep in
and affirm our sorrow, drown our compassion
we seek someone to blame and with help
we find a scapegoat a ready victim.

There is always something greater
with tomorrow's gentle sunrise
Love is just around the corner
If we will open up our eyes.

May we be watched and those who wait
love is gestating although we cannot see
love is growing inside and all around
will make the world new again in time.

There is always something greater
with tomorrow's gentle sunrise
Love is just around the corner
If we will open up our eyes.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A House Divided

Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Matthew 12:22-30

Sometimes I teased my girls calling them oppositional eaters - whatever one of the sisters wanted for dinner, another would abhor the idea. At some point, dinner had t get made and I would often make what no one wanted just so there would be peace. And the arguments over the meals out could be just as strident. Diners ended up being our best way to solve the issue, that is, finding a place where elegance and climate was set aside for variety and endless choices.

Today, the religious opposition is in Jesus' face claiming that his power comes from the devil, not from God. Sensibly, Jesus answers their ridiculous accusations with real wisdom. A house divided cannot stand. God's whole driving force is love and healing, restoration and rescue. If violence, hate and greed aren't on the menu, then it must be God's place. Despite our human divisions, both personality and political, we can still come together at the table which is spread for us. The divine mystery of the one great table, where we all belong despite ourselves, is our gift as the family of God.

Today I ask God to give me the eyes to see others as my family, no matter how different we might be. May we come to the table that is spread for us, knowing that God is in our midst. Where there is healing and hope may we know it as a gift from God and share it where ever we go today.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Bruised Reed

Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,

my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.

I will put my Spirit upon him,

and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.

He will not quarrel or cry aloud,

nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;

a bruised reed he will not break,

and a smoldering wick he will not quench,

until he brings justice to victory;

and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
Matthew 12:15-21

Last year, when I was recovering from back surgery, very simple things took all my effort. I felt like a bruised reed, ready to snap at any minute. Healing happened and as time went by even the bruised and atrophied places gained strength. The gentle continuous work of healing is always tender and always hopeful.

Jesus went away from the criticism of the religious leaders and went out to the people. His work was continuous, healing them and asking for their silence. His healing is tender and hopeful and never boastful. God's love and healing is not about victory but about justice and tenderness, God's active love is more often a whisper than a shout. God invites us to participate in the ongoing work of love, by being those who bring tenderness and kindness to the broken and discouraged.

Today I ask God for an extra measure of tenderness and patience. May we be given sight to see the hidden bruises and the internal brokenness around us. May we offer a quiet hope, kindness and care, to the aching world around us.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mercy, Not Sacrifice

At that time Jesus went through the cornfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.’ He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”, you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.’

He left that place and entered their synagogue; a man was there with a withered hand, and they asked him, ‘Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?’ so that they might accuse him. He said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.’ Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and it was restored, as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

Matthew 12:1-14

Mercy, Not Sacrifice

Showing mercy calls at our hearts
slowing down to see the need
listening to the cries in the night
seeing poverty on busy streets.

We are trained to avoid the weak
and step around the street folks
clutching bags and coffees tight
we scurry on our important ways.

The need and huger surround us
we are cossetted and closed in
secure in our wealth and prosperity
showing no mercy on mean streets.

When we are not vulnerable we forget
we overlooked the ache and are deaf
to the children who have lost their way
we exercise our right to turn away.

God calls us to turn and listen
to feel the cries of the poor
to let legality and rules go
so that we can respond to the need.

God stands in the lonely places
huddles on the street corner
hunkers down on the subway platforms
and waits on the docks on clod nights.

Let us seek God in our discomfort
in the places we left behind
in the people we so often shunned
and in mercy let us live.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Yoke is Easy

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:25-30

When I was a child, whenever there would be a power outage and the lights would go out, my father would declare, "many hands make light work!" We would then all throw our hands in the air waiting for the return of the power and light. He loved having a big family and joking with us. We knew that is was silly but it also relieved our anxiety and fears and reminded us that love can make even the darkest moments light.

Jesus prays to God, giving thanks for the gifts of love, which are often so hidden from the serious and so very evident to children. Jesus delights in the honest understanding of this. He also reminds us all that if we come to him as a child, needy and honest, we will find rest. Love finds a way to lightened the burden and to make the yoke easy. God invites us all to seek God because love seeks us out, love desire to be known to us. God aches to lighten our burden and give us comfort and rest.

Today I ask God to help me open my heart as a child. May we live today as people who have been relieved of a burden, who are safe in the arms of God. And in our comfort and assurance, may we share the love we have been given, so that those we meet today might have the burdens of their lives lifted.

Monday, October 21, 2013


“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
Matthew 11:16-19


Not long ago Nana was a child
our dancing was outlawed seen
as a vestige of our savagery
we hid under darkness' cover.

Now everyone would come and see
fancy dancing and the hoops
shawls spinning like autumn grass
our celebrations as entertainment.

The sacred fire lighting the night
we pray and call upon the Creator
to make our offering good and holy
to make us free and filled with beauty.

This generation is all for sport
for their eyes entertainment dazzling
colors of our sorrow and our story
we dance and they cannot understand.

Hear the drum beat and remember
God calls us all to times of mourning
to times of celebration with giving
dance when the Creator call us home.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Jesus told his disciples a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, `Grant me justice against my opponent.' For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, `Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'" And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" Luke 18:1-8

Our second oldest, Ariel, loved playing lacrosse. When we arrived in Middletown, Delaware, there was no team she could play with. When she got to high school she helped a group petition for lacrosse as an official sport. They lobbied and attended meetings. Finally they were granted permission to play, but there would only be a boys' team. The boys she had been working with assured her she could play. We got a call one day from the team captain's mother who was embarrassed to tell us but that Ariel could play but have to be outfitted like the boys, including wearing a cup! Ariel took it all in stride and played her last two years of high school with the boys. For the love of the game, she would dis whatever it would take.

Jesus tells a story of a corrupt judge who gives in to an annoying widow because of her persistence. And he tells us that God is more ready to give than we are to ask. our persistence is important. If we have faith and are willing to be persistence, our prayers will be answered. God wants to hear us, desires to bless us, and aches to have us reach out in love.

Today, I ask God for the persistence of kids like Ariel. May we all cry out to the Lord, trusting that the author of all things, the author of love, will give us our hearts' desire. May we pray at all times, trusting that God is listening to the hearts of the people.

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Out into the Wilderness

“What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,

who will prepare your way before you.’

Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." Matthew 11:7-12

One of my husband's hopes while we have been here in Alaska is to see a bear in the wild. While walking in the woods we have heard what we thought were their growling calls, and there is evidence of them in many places. obviously, we don't want to have a close encounter, but seeing them near Starrigavan in a stream would be lovely. We have gone out to the Fortress of the Bear, where they care for orphaned bear cubs, but it is not the same.

The conversation turned to John the Baptist and why Jesus was different in his practices than John. Jesus wondered what the people really expected, and what they had hoped would happen. We often have strange expectations of 0people and places that are very different than reality. Our expectations are often based on false hopes and our own ignorance of the true nature of things. When we guess, we most often guess wrong. God invites us to open our eyes to the blessings around us, willing ourselves to see the true nature of God's love in our lives, rather than holding to childish or ancient expectations from the depths of our imagination. God's love is real and powerful and right here in the nitty gritty of our lives.

Today I ask God to help me welcome love's presence right in the here and now. May we set aside false hopes and expectations and embrace the Creator's love right here in our midst.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Guard Me as the Apple of Your Eye

Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry;
give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.
From you let my vindication come;
let your eyes see the right.

If you try my heart, if you visit me by night,
if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me;
my mouth does not transgress.
As for what others do, by the word of your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.

I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me, hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.

Guard me as the apple of the eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who despoil me,
my deadly enemies who surround me.
They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
They track me down; now they surround me;
they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.
They are like a lion eager to tear,
like a young lion lurking in ambush.

Rise up, O Lord, confront them, overthrow them!
By your sword deliver my life from the wicked,
from mortals—by your hand, O Lord—
from mortals whose portion in life is in this world.
May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them;
may their children have more than enough;
may they leave something over to their little ones.

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness. Psalm 17

One of the things we love to do in the fall is to go out to the orchard and pick apples. We have done this all of our marriage and our daughters love to go even now. There is something wonderful out in the orchard, an air of ripe sweetness and the crisp fall nip in the air. Reaching up, sometimes climbing, we pick the apples one by one, rejecting all but the best. There are no apple orchards here, no where to pick and we are feeling a little bereft. We bought apples from the store and made our traditional apple butter but we are still missing the whole experience.

The Psalmist is feeling the isolation and frustration of his life. The sting of being treated as an enemy, as well as criticized and gossiped about, makes him ache for the safety of home. He cries out to God for tenderness and protection. He spills his heart out as he sings and prays, trusting that God can hear his distress and help him out of this harsh place. He feels betrayed, hurt and under attack and knows that God will hear him. For us, we have this ancient and still powerful words to remind us that God is near. God is in the midst of our pain and suffering, and is with us in our darkest moments. And not only that but God sees us as precious - the apple of the eye - and worthy at all times of protection, guidance and care. May we take comfort in the shadow of the Creator's wings.

Today I ask God for that tender protection and comfort when feeling so far from home. May we all cry out to God with words and song, ancient and modern, trusting that God hears all. May we understand ourselves to be loved and tenderly guided at all times. And may we be God's agents of protection and safety for the most vulnerable today.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Cup of Cold Water

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” Matthew 10:40-42

A Cup of Cold Water

Your well is deep
your pockets so full
the larder is stocked
and yet you turn away.

God promises to reward
our generosity and kindness
our open hands and hearts
our welcome of strangers.

Afraid to be less than
afraid of not being the star
slamming the door shut
you reject the love of God.

God promises to reward
our generosity and kindness
our open hands and hearts
our welcome of strangers.

Bitterness drips from your lips
anger pours from your hearts
there is no room for compassion
there is no home for God.

God promises to reward
our generosity and kindness
our open hands and hearts
our welcome of strangers.

Let us turn from the greed
from our self serving ways
from the bullying of the poor
for God stands among them.

God promises to reward
our generosity and kindness
our open hands and hearts
our welcome of strangers.

Their weary hand extended
the empty cups their only offering
their need is beyond measure
and God stand with them all.

God promises to reward
our generosity and kindness
our open hands and hearts
our welcome of strangers.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fear Not

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 10:26-33

"Don't be scared!" They used to shout it as a group in the daycare I worked in during college. It was a line from a book, repeated throughout the story that the kids loved so much. It is easy to say but much harder to do. As we grow up, we learn that there is much that can destroy our happiness, and there are many people who seek to do us harm. It is much easier to be fearful than to let fear go. Easy to scream while the book is being read, harder to live day by day.

Jesus is training up his disciples, teaching them how to navigate the complexities of their lives. They have had much success in reaching people, healing the sick and following their teacher. But there is so much more ahead, and the daily challenges and threats will wear them down. Just as the daily threats, small and large can wear us down. Jesus reminds them that they are more valuable by far than the sparrows, treasured by God, and cared for in every moment. We can set aside fear for God is guiding our every step and walking with us in every moment. We are invited by our Creator today to grasp how loved we are and to live without fear because of the power of love.

Today I ask God to help me be bold and to live without fear. May the challenges of the day not be stumbling blocks for us and may we turn everything over to God who is infinitely more than our fears. May we live like sparrows, trusting that God's hand is on us in every moment, shielding us from the terror that could bind us today.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sheep Amidst Wolves

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes." Matthew 10:16-24

Sheep Amidst Wolves

Sleeping with one eye open
we sniff the air seeking signs
always on the lookout for trouble
with no weapons for protection.

We live vulnerable among these wolves
the prey, the food of their lives
we live for peace among warmongers
we live forgiveness amidst violence.

We cannot change those who attack
but we can change the hearts of others
we will model love and compassion
in a vicious dog eat dog world.

God did not send us alone
we are draped with spirit's robes
and the Creator's war of words
the gifts of healing we bring.

Let us endure only endure for today
watching and waiting through these times
the wolves will show themselves soon enough
and God will find joyously faithful.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Shake Off the Dust

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. Matthew 10:5-15

Letting go is one of the hardest things we can do. I have often persisted in trying to fix something or a relationship that refuses any fixes. We can hurt and discourage ourselves when folks won't listen and won't take in forgiveness. Healing requires a willingness, an openness to God and change, and when that is refused, we only hurt ourselves and our ministries by trying to fix the un-fixable. Some things we have to leave to God.

Jesus is sending his disciples out after they had walked many miles with him. They had witnessed many miracles and been strengthened by these experiences. Now they were going out on their own and facing the challenges of caring for others. Jesus tells them to offer life and healing to everyone. He also tells them to shake off the dust and leave to God those who refuse to hear, those who refuse to welcome, those who refuse love and forgiveness. What a practical bit of advise and yet so hard for many of us to hear. We tend to take refusal as a challenge. God invites us today to let no be no, and continue to offer what we have in the places we are received and among the people that will welcome us.

Today I ask God to help me let go and give God the situations I cannot fix. May we shake the dust off our feet when we are rejected, forgiving the hardness of heart and turning them over to God. May we be ready at all times to move on, accepting the welcome of those who open their doors. And may we let go so that we can be strengthened for the days ahead.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Harvest Time 2

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:35-38

Harvest Time

I followed in the garden
early in the damp morning
Grandfather speaking to each
encouraging them to be strong.

We would walk before the sun
singing our ancient songs
thanksgiving and gratitude
for the plentiful abundance.

Rich dark glistening strawberries
our first harvest early summer
to the dried stalks leaning
their end of summer corn
waiting for next year's garden.

Our people know this earth as mother
a deep abiding relationship of care
we are embedded with the soil
born of sky, moon and sand.

The time is come again for harvest
hearts are waiting to be brought home
seeking a life entwined with God
aching to be planted in the Creator's garden.

Our people ache for healing touch
for freedom from the addicting darkness
an end to sorrow and deep loss
which has made us wander all too long.

We ache to be planted again
Creator sink our roots so deep
fashion us as your people again
and make us strong for the harvest to come.


On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."
Luke 17:11-19

While I was in seminary I was assigned to a parish on Belmont,Massachusetts. All Saints' was a vibrant and busy place with many families with young children. At the end of every service the Rector would thank us each by name. At first I thought it was an affectation, and then I realized it was sincere and compassionate. It meant a lot to me to be appreciated for what I did willingly. Although it was my job and required to graduate, still someone recognized the effort that went in to my work. I learn a life long lesson there - the importance of gratitude.

One of ten came back and thanked God for their healing. These were people abandoned by society because of real fears. The disease was a death sentence, as well as a sentence to pain and isolation. Their relief and joy must have been amazing and they all ran home to touch their loved ones who were once forbidden to them. God will not withhold the healing, but when we stop to say thank you, the complete healing becomes ours. We find as we are grateful we find the depth of love and joy in our loved ones and in God.

Today I ask God to help me show my gratitude for all of God's blessings. May we be grateful for the many, many blessings we have been given, the joy we find in family and the beauty that surrounds us. In the midst of our need, may we remember that God does not withhold the healing and it is our gratitude that makes it our own.

The Collect

Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Darkness and Silence

And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.

As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” Matthew 9:27-34

When my children were small we all called the thin crescent moon, a fingernail moon. The other night, after an evening meeting, I looked out over Crescent Harbor and saw our fingernail moon. It's been raining for man days, so a break in the clouds, enough to see the moon, were indeed a welcome sign. This time of year we lose light rapidly, and as they days get increasingly shorter, I am so aware of the darkness that can enfold us here on this island.

Jesus continues his healing mission, bringing sight to the blind and voice to the voiceless. The religious leaders continue their criticism and their demonization. The goodness of God was made evident and the people that were healed could not keep silent. Sometimes though, doubt creeps up, even in the face of absolute godliness. The presence oft he living God is sometimes not enough for some. We can get enshrouded in our own silence and darkness, and forget to reach out in faith. We can let the darkness enfold us rather than crying out to the living God.

Today I ask God to give me the courage to ask for what I need today. May we all be encouraged, no matter how dark the days, no matter how voiceless we feel, to cry out to God who loves us more than we can imagine. May we not let the circumstances of our day diminish our faith, rather, may we cry out to God, who will give us new eyes and new voices for the days to come.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Take Heart

While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. And when Jesus came to the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. And the report of this went through all that district. Matthew 9:18-26

I remember the sound of my mother's footsteps on the hospital tile. I was twelve and recovering from serious surgery in the hospital. To this day, recalling the sound of her coming down the hall to see me, still brings me a sense of hope and faith. I was a child, alone and afraid, and she came to me, bolstering my progress and giving me the faith to go on.

Jesus encounters a man who is desperate and anxious about his daughter. While Jesus is hurrying on his way to the child, a woman touches him ad she s healed. Her faith made her well. She was faithful and others around gained faith by her willingness to reach out despite the many setbacks in her life. Jesus goes on to the little girl who they had given up as dead. The crowd was derisive but Jesus went to the little girl and shut out the naysayers. Sometimes in our lives of faith we need those people who will keep coming to us, day after day, and we need to shut out the naysayers. God can restore our faith through and heal us through others, when we have lost our way and lost our faith.

Today I ask God to help me have faith and help me keep moving to those in need. May we continue our daily faithfulness, so that others, who have lost their way, might find healing and balm through us. May God use us today, as instruments of faith and peace in a world that has lost it's way today.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Old Wineskins

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” Matthew 9:14-17

Old Wineskins

We've been around, seen it all
jaded and worn down by experience
hurt by the world's harsh judgment
and yet we must be made new.

Every morning with the feeble light
we rise us as new beings of God
cherished and desired by a loving Creator
with new eyes of childlike wonder.

Our skins papery and leather like
made soft and supple again by love
our ancient bones our twisted hands
straightened by the touch of hope.

We must put on our dancing shoes
come to the celebration in our best
rejoicing in the possibility of new life
the old reformed made new again.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Take Heart

And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. Matthew 8:1-9

It is always hard to take the first step. Whether it is the first step of reconciliation after a relationship is broken or the first step after an injury, the anxiety, pain and fear are real. We know well what it is like to be broken and paralyzed but we don't know what that forgiveness and healing look like. Take heart, Jesus says, for we are not alone in our need for this healing, this forgiveness. And we are never alone when we take our first steps along the road.

Jesus encounters a man very defeated by the pain in his body. And yet, Jesus offers healing, not only for his body but his soul as well. We know too well that our guilt and shame only compounds our disease, The religious leaders outwardly criticize and judge Jesus' actions and statements but inwardly are afraid of this power and authority. God comes into the world to save us, from all manner of evil and disease as well as from ourselves. We are offered today a new heart, one free from the guilt, shame and hurt we have been carrying for so long.

Today I ask God to help me truly accept forgiveness and to move to a life of stronger faith. May we not be timid but happily take up our beds and walk, so the world might know of the love of God. God's love is in the world and is always more ready to forgive and heal than we are to ask. May we take heart today. God is with us!

Monday, October 7, 2013


And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region. Matthew 8:28-34


Let me sleep a little longer
lingering in the morning mist
too must twisting and turning
so much goodness is so exhausting.

We get used to our familiar nests
no mattered how infested they may be
we like our own mess and squalor
and don't like anyone disturbing it.

They were our raging crazy men
our gargoyles, our living fortress
they protected us from all outsiders
and we enjoyed the fruits of their illness.

Taking away their illness and demons
we are left undefended from our own
light is shining on our disease
we want to hide and be let alone.

God's light reveals more than we wish
the darkness and festering is familiar
ugly and oozing in the reflected glow
we are frightened by our own failings
and wish to see no more.

God's light lingers through it all
despite our best efforts to extinguish
love will bind staunch the flow and bind us
until we are made whole again and again.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Increase our Faith!

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

"Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, `Come here at once and take your place at the table'? Would you not rather say to him, `Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink'? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, `We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'" Luke 17:5-10

We come to the end of Diocesan Convention here in Alaska. It has been a good deal of hard work and a great celebration. There are so many faithful people gathered in one place. So many of those gathered have hard struggles in order to serve God. Village life in place like Arctic Circle are tough and the challenges to doing ministry are many. And yet all gathered are so faithful. Folks can get tired and frustrated by the setbacks, and yet I am so grateful for their witness and example.

The disciples are facing challenges in their ministry. Their enthusiasm has waned as the real life challenges have overwhelmed them. They come to Jesus asking for more faith and Jesus challenges them to employ the faith they have. They have been given everything they need but are loosing heart and loosing vision. AS they expect less, less becomes their way and Jesus provokes them to a new sense of faith in action. God promises, no matter how exhausted or discouraged we might be, enough power and strength for what we have to face. For every challenge God has a powerful solution if we but that small amount of faith that can move mountains.

Today I ask God to help me have faith for the days ahead. Though we all have challenges the size of mountains in our lives and in our ministry, may we trust God to provide us with the faith and power we need. May our faith not dwindle but rather steadily increase, as the mustard seed becomes a tree. May the deep roots of God's love hold us fast in hard times and give us the faith we need to carry God's love into the world.
The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sailing to the Other Side

Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” Matthew 8:18-27

I always loved sailing on the ocean. A close friend had a little sail fish boat and we would push her through the surf and climb aboard. The boat was little more than a glorified surf board with a center board and sail, but we would zip around the end of the cape listening to water as it was cut by the bow and watching the sun glisten off the waves as we moved. It capsized very easily and almost as easily righted itself with our help. It was no good in a storm and we knew to get off the water and head home when the winds kicked up hard.

Jesus, surrounded by a crowd, knew it was time to move to the other side of the sea. Many were caught up in the excitement of the event rather than understanding that God was drawing near. When we say yes to a relationship with God, we are often quickly find ourselves on troubled waters. Storms come up and we think God has fallen asleep or abandoned us. The followers of Jesus were afraid. The man who stayed behind to bury his father probably thought he had done the smart thing. All those disciples were doomed in such raging sea. But when we say yes, and climb in the boat, we find that God's power is with us, in the center of our storms breathing peace to even the wind and the waves. We are faced with unbearable challenges, rough, angry seas, but God promises to be with us bringing us great calm and getting us to the other side.

Today I ask God to bring me calm in this storm. May we, when our way ahead is not clear, and the water seems ready to overwhelm us, call upon the one who is the author of peace and calm. May the winds and waves of life be calmed by God's presence with us and may we offer that divine peace to the world around us.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Let It Be Done For You

When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. Mathew 8:5-13

Let It Be

There is that moment
diving right in the surf
salt water touching every nerve
alive and trembling a rebirth
as we surface again.

Resistance and fighting
only lead to failure
riding the current letting go
to the waves and the pull
we are tossed on dry sand again.

Underwater overtaken giving in
we are remade resilient and sleek
giving us the silky sense of possibility
the childlike buoyancy of hope
a renewed hear for love.

Let it be as you shiver in the sun
let go to this place where life began
seek the water of life be baptized
fully immersed in love and forgiveness
we surface gasping with joy.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Building On A Rock

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27

Living in Sitka, Alaska on a semi-sheltered harbor, many houses are built high up on little islands. There is not much sand here. Back at home, many houses are built right up against the sand dunes, and though some have weathered many storms, the newer ones still await their testing. There is a foolishness that can come with wealth, a need to have the best location and the best view, weather and water be damned. The people who love the land and place they come from and live to honor and preserve it, listen carefully to the wind and the weather and heed the warnings that will keep them and their families alive.

Jesus has spent a good deal of time instructing his disciples on their life in faith. He was keenly aware of how easily we humans can veer off course, caught up with the shifting sands of fashion and trends. We can be drawn away from our foundations and think we can do fine on our own. God knows how fickle we can be and how changeable the world is. There are always storms on the horizon.
We are encouraged today to not look for the most appealing view but rather to sink deep into the rock, holding onto the solid foundation we have been given in God's love and faithfulness.

Today I ask God to help me stay tied to the rock. May we build from the solid base of God's love and compassion, and avoid the fashion and frivolity of our age. May we be given the strength to endure the storms of life as we cling to the solid words of love that are ours from God today.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thorns and Thisles

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 7:13-21

Today is the beginning of clergy conference and then convention begins. We are gathering in Fairbanks on a crisp and clear fall day. More than anything I just want to walk in the sun and relax. Meetings and gatherings after long days of moving are a challenge for me. And yet the gift and discipline of faithfulness, despite being weary and worn is that God has promised to make good fruits if we are but faithful. Even when we feel prickly and thorny, if we are willing to be present and participate, God will bless us.

Jesus has taught the disciples how to pray and to trust God in everything. Then he continues on to teach them just how complicated it is to be a disciple. It is easy to be lead astray, to be scratched and undone. The most dangerous situations can arise from the dark hearts of human beings in leadership who are more concerned for their power and prestige than for the people. When God's love and compassion is made evident in our lives, the evidence or the fruits of God's blessings are seen. If we follow God only for our own selfish goals, we are in danger of losing that same blessing and fruitfulness.

Today I ask God to help me be patient with myself as we move through so many changes so quickly. May our hearts be moved to be those who are faithful and fruitful, following God and caring for the people. May we be known by our good fruits and may God bless us all with the humility to care for God's abundance garden of blessings today.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pearls and Pigs

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:1-12

Pearls and Pigs

A delicate gentle hand
smile lighting the world
feet dancing in the sand
you are meant for holy good.

A humble tender heart
humming music through the day
never judging always believing
in the kindness to be found.

The world might not know you
this world may laugh and taunt
turn away with ignorance and greed
God knows lovely and smiles on you.

Fear not for the Creator hears
your tears and your trembling ache
the sweetness of your voice
morning after morning breathing life.

There is nothing without redemption
not a person too far gone
there is no heart kinder than
the heart of the author of love.